13 December 2007

The World of Mind

On a foggy winter morning standing on the gate of your house you find some figures are coming along the road that stretches before you. You can not recognize them. They appear to be blurred figures. Even you can not know for certain how many are there and whether if all of them are human beings. The small ones may or may not be animals. Slowly more they come near to you the more they appear clear in their contours. Yes there are two men, one woman, one little boy and a dog. They now stand before you and the elder man says “Hello!” All of them live just beside your house as good neighbours. And you know them for many years since you began living here in this house. They went to the countryside a week ago and now are retuning. There is nothing wrong in you in not recognizing them first at mere a hundred feet from you. It’s a foggy day. The fogs are terrible obstacles for sight. The real –very real becomes hidden. As they have gone past for there house –you find none-none around you anymore. You remain alone as if the world has gone into hiding. But you are not sad as you know that everyth ing is there as it is and as you know them. This sheath of fog has veiled everything before your nose. The same was true for your neighbours when they also failed to identify you from a little far for this veil. So for both for your neighbours and you it is as simple as anything. You know that the fog would vanish under a stronger sun a little after and the world would appear in clear identity. Everything is known to you and this naughty fog can not play such tricks for a long time. But are you sure that you see and conceive your neighbourhood and the neighbours in the right way in normal conditions? Our confidence does not always carry us to realities. But before answering the question I’ll turn the problem in another way. Let me see whether you look as real as you are. You know yourself and know also that you can determine many of your daily routines. But I should first want to know whether you know your tomorrow-how it’ll be like. No –anyone of us knows the exact future movements that beforehand. Whether you’ll brush your hair in the bathroom or in your room is not predetermined. What you will think then- about your next food or your friend’s problem? Are you certain that you will not think of enjoying a movie after your office hours? You may be in a mood to visit a friend whom you have not seen for a long time. Or you may think of returning home soon to complete your unfinished writing. You may be in many moods after your office which you are not aware of now. It’s because you have no control over your mind and for that matter any control over an overall direction of your life also. You do not know what you will think with your own mind the very next moment. Except a very few ones people like you are unknowingly sliding to a destiny obviously not of their choice. You like to name this fact as fate. But if it is that you love to take as your defense then make sure that you have allowed it to step in through your unguarded moments. But I am not here about emphasizing on morality with regard to your nature, least of it, as I see you through your mind. My point is about your mind-the very element you human kind is inclined to depend on more than anything else to know and determine the course and events of your life. You may argue that it is pre-planning that you can form with your mind. But are you sure that your planning will get through? And are you convinced that you are planning rightly or no other planning will replace it with another one in future? Your mind has its limitation because it is not based on all the truths that are there behind your nature and beyond your sight. But before coming to the question of your ability to direct your movements with the help of your mind let me return to the situation where the morning fog blurred the world before your sight. The fog is a temporary external phenomenon to bar a world from your sight. But you are not aware of another fact where you yourself are a blurred existence even to you. You are not what you are actually internally. Your instruments by which you see, know and conceive a reality are not as developed as are able to grasp a totality in which you live. The biologists are not certain whether all the animals feel and see the world in the same way as we do. Some says contrary to the traditional belief that the bulls can not perceive the red colour. Some reptile like snake can not hear according to some. Whatever it may be it is after all interesting to know how the world differs in the perceptions of a dog and a bird. We can not come to a conclusive truth from studying the reactions only. But it’ll be more interesting to know whether you are right in your perception of your own being. You have not been born on your option and the different parts of the organization that you know as you have not been made according to your own plan like that of an engineer making an airplane with his own ideas. Even the external substances you are made of are not of your own making. You have grown and become you like that of a plant growing up into a tree without its own effort. There’s no difference between you and a tree so far as one’s own option in the process of becoming what both of you are now is concerned. Unlike a tree you have something you call mind with which you know that you know ‘all about you’ and explain your existence in terms of your mind and you think that what you think, see, feel, hear etc are in right ways. When you find that you are alone in your room you feel lonely as there is none that appears to your sight. You are convinced that your eyes can see in the right way. And your feeling of loneliness is a real feeling. For all this you get support of your mind. But if I say that all this is mind’s own business and not yours? You will vehemently oppose my proposition because from your own experience you know that the mosquito flying over your head –if it bites, you will feel pain from its sting. You know even more that a disease may follow from its bite. So by knowing it from your experience you are able to apply your mind to prevent it from biting. You know that when there are several persons in your room talking you can hear the noise and it’s caused by people. So noise and the source of noise are very much related to your conception. You know that your very existence will be in jeopardy if your mind leaves you. Exactly so. But you do not know where and how your mind exists in you. Even if you are dissected thoroughly no anatomist will find it out. But it is the main sensory element that helps you to perceive everything. Even without it you will not be able to feel a touch on your skin. So what it is? It’s not material but the materiality is conceived through it. It’s something like a link between you and the world. It’s consciousness –not the essential consciousness but a phenomenon of consciousness in mental level. Wherefrom this consciousness has come? You all know that Man did not fall on this planet from some place called heaven. Man evolved through an evolutionary process in Nature as Darwin informed you. But one thing –the very essential thing he did not mention as to what is this driving force that selects and deselects continuously in Nature. He even did not tell us what the aim in Nature is in her evolutionary drive. Is it merely playing with forms that are able to survive as the fittest in natural situations? Then mere survival through those survived is all that Nature should be content of. For that matter Nature should not have created a weakling –the Man, apparently not as fit as a tiger to survive in the adversity of natural situations. There are many unanswered questions in Darwin’s explanation on evolutionary process. Darwin saw only the phenomenon of external Nature. He did not feel the necessity of knowing the inner and conscious motivation latent in Nature. As Man is an evolutionary product with consciousness we must acknowledge that evolution is concerned with the evolution of consciousness in forms also. Man is more conscious than the formidable tiger and for that matter is more powerful than tiger. So if we examine the whole process of evolutionary path of Nature we find that the whole evolution is a process of evolution of consciousness. The Nature herself has been seeking or aspiring to be more and more conscious in her struggle against unconsciousness. In Man she finds a face to look forward. And for the first time she consciously feels her discontent for not being fully liberated. So in Man she puts herself as an aspiring light within him. It is what people call soul. She is the Mother of all the aspirations in Man. I am telling you all this only to inform you that you are not only a physical body but also a vehicle of consciousness. But the consciousness is not a divisible thing existing separately in you. You may find your body as a separate being amongst many others but you can not be separate even in your body because your bodily existence is valid through several links with the nature from which you have come or evolved. As Nature is an indivisible composite all in her is related to one another. Nobody can exist separately here in this universal nature. Yes, you are even related to animals and even all the living beings long extinct before the advent of Man. You are not separate but an individual front of the myriad whole. Do you know that that your thoughts are not yours but enter in a stream in your mind from outside? Many a times you feel sad as there rises in you a filthy or nasty desire. But generally it’s from the vital (the plane of life forces) atmosphere. It’s not yours altogether. Again let us return to the foggy morning. As you have evolved through the evolutionary passage everything of the whole path is imbedded in your deep subconscious (subconscient). You may have let tail fall of your animal body but you can not efface the animal altogether from your subconscious. We are surrounded with various levels and planes of consciousness. I should better say that we are merged in these. Yes-it is for your mind you can not understand it. Has the evolution ended in Man? We have seen that no species have come out from nature after the advent of Man. The answer lies in man himself. Man is not an inanimate stone, an amoeba, a plant, a bird and not an animal. There is a progressive sign in every successive formation in Nature and this progress is defined in terms of higher consciousness. In man the consciousness has been formed as mind. Man is a mental being. But if mind is the highest form of consciousness then we must conclude that the process of evolution has stopped in principle. But the answer –as I have told above lies with Man. Even all the human beings are not still capable of functioning from the highest Mind-the last station of the evolutionary travel so far. If you are capable of rising to the higher mind you did not have problem in seeing persons lost in fog. If you reached the highest mind you could realize that you are not alone. You could see all in you and find you in all. So is it not that you yourself still live in a blurred existence more blurring than the morning fog could do? Now I must tell you that I’m not here to discuss metaphysical matters. I do not know the future. But one thing I have realized that being in limited manhood I can’t expect a better future. I have not been born to consume even given eternity for doing so in a world where death and disease are vanquished forever. If I can be as vast as infinity and everything –every cell in me can feel absolute liberty live always one with all that are possible in the creation I can be free of myself. This is not possible with being in man only. I am convinced in my heart that Man as we see him is a creation of past. The mother who lit a lamp within replacing the nature-tells us in the language of Sri Aurobindo… O Force-compelled, Fate-driven earth-born race, O petty adventurers in an infinite world And prisoners of a dwarf humanity, How long will you tread the circling tracks of mind Around your little self and petty things? But not for a changeless littleness were you meant, Not for vain repetition were you built… Almighty powers are shut in Nature’s cells. A greater destiny waits you in your front… The life you lead conceals the light you are. [Blogger's note: I have written in a superficial way to express my thoughts. If anyone is interested to know more in detail -he or she is requested to read the book SRI AUROBINDO OR THE ADVENTURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS by Satprem. The book can be had at the following places: Institut De Recherches Evolutives, Canada CP 41 Chambly QC J3L 4B1 Canada Institut De Recherches Evolutives 142 boulevard du Montparnasse 7510-Paris, France Mira Aditi Centre 62 'Sriranga', Saraswatipuram Mysore-570 009 India